Bipartisan budget approved as session draws to a close

From CT News Junkie.

Hours after announcing they had a deal Wednesday, the Senate and House approved a bipartisan budget with about a half hour to spare before the end of the legislative session. Only eight members of the General Assembly — all in the House — voted against approval.

The budget, which specifically is an adjustment to the second year of the current biennial budget for 2018-19, allows both Democratic and Republican legislators to have a “kumbaya moment” that many didn’t believe was possible in an election year.

Senate Republican President Len Fasano, R-North Haven, said they can move the state forward even when they are evenly divided in the Senate.

The $20.85 billion budget agreement increases spending 2.1 percent over the current year budget. The deal does not include any tax increases, mostly because the April income tax collections came in much higher than expected, allowing them to deposit about $1.1 billion in the Rainy Day Fund.

The deal maintains funding for the Medicare Savings Program and Husky A for low-income parents. The Medicare Savings Programs helps pay Part B insurance premiums for low-income elderly and disabled residents.

It also changes the definition of the volatility cap by allowing it to grow each fiscal year based on the annual rate of personal income growth. As such it increases the revenue available in the 2019 budget by $46.8 million, and also shortens the length of the bond covenant from 10 years to five years.

The 2019 budget is expected to end the year with a $23.1 million surplus. However, there are still large deficits in the out years for the next governor and legislature.

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